Back in about 1981/82 I discovered on the BBC a TV show called Monkey. Now as a young kid I had no idea of the show’s history, its origins or why their mouths didn’t seem to match what they were saying. What I did know was that it was absolutely brilliant especially the bloke with the big stick (Monkey) and his mates Sandy and Pigsy. The geezer in white who was actually a girl didn’t do anything for me, I just wanted to see fights and at the time I thought cool special effects.
The history of the show is covered much better elsewhere and also on some of the boxset’s extras but does the completely insane show still stand up today?
Well, pushing aside the dated feel for a second, watching it now in 2020 some 40 years later I had a whale of a time. It’s still hilarious and some of the bad guys still look look like badly dressed tramps with horrendous wigs but I couldn’t give a toss.
When Monkey gets on his cloud I felt a wonderful feeling of warmth and nostalgia which took me back to a time where I didn’t have a care in the world. The BBC were responsible for dubbing the original Japanese version into English and Cato himself Burt Kwouk was involved with his amazing distinctive voice. Not all the episodes were dubbed but a few years ago the ADR was completed by Fabulous Films so we now have 100% Monkey Magic all in one big boxset full of crazy antics and some profound enlightenment as well.
Since the original show there has been a remake which is now on Netflix (its not bad but its too polished and professional) a couple of spin off films and in the mid 80’s a really bad Commodore 64 game called Monkey Magic which with all its faults did let you fly on a cloud.
Also, we must not forget that Monkey himself sported the best side-burns since Elvis and Pigsy without a doubt rocked the greatest cap and smile around.
The theme song remains as infectious as ever and with every episode in the set terrific value for money for the big kids in all of us.